Traveling is one of my greatest loves, and last year I finally went to Japan, which has been on my travel bucket list FOREVER!
Here’s some cool things I discovered whilst I was there:
Hotels and bullet trains
- Check in times are strictly adhered to. If check in’s at 2pm and you arrive even just 10 minutes before, you still must wait
- The Mizoni Shinkansen from Fukuoka to Hiroshima went at a speed of 300km/hr!
- If you place a food order in English, it will get repeated back to you in Japanese
- The best way to order is to point at what you want on the menu, then hold up the number of fingers that you’d like to order the meal in. I called this my point and pray system
- My point and pray system didn’t always work. I was eating what I thought was a plum bun, only to discover that it was actually a red bean bun! It was still delicious though
- Even though their English isn’t strong, the Japanese try really hard to understand you. I had people trying to help me at train stations when I was lost
It’s clean everywhere, all the time!
- Everything is so clean – it’s great
- I even saw train station employees vacuuming concrete station stairs
- If you’re looking for something in particular you’ll never find it. The best thing to do is put your map away and just explore
- Many shops were hidden in what appeared to be commercial buildings. So if you see an escalator jump on and see where it leads. I found many shops, great restaurants, and department store food basements this way
- Bus station employees bow to the bus on its approach, and when it leaves
- The number and how high or low you bow depends on relationships. For example, you bow at a higher height with friends, compared to colleagues or managers
- Everything’s so small
- Kit Kats are packaged to look big, but once opened contain four fun size packs
- Soft drink cans and cigarettes are also very small
- If ordering soy milk some places give you a soy card, which you hand over when you pick your coffee up
- If there’s curtains in front of a store and they’re closed, it means the store’s closed
- I never saw any seats or bins. I was told all bins were removed post 9/11
Shrine cleansing ritual
- All shrines have a purification tori gate, which once passed through signifies that you have stepped into the domain of the deity, and that you have purified your emotional state
- Bow before entering the tori gate and walk to the side when passing through, as the centre is where the deity passes through
- Just before the shrine you’ll see a water pavilion station, which is for body and mind purification. Here is where you wash away heart and physical impurities
- Here’s what to do when you reach these:
- Scoop water into the ladle with your right hand, pour some water over your left hand
- Place the ladle in your left hand, pour some water over your right hand
- Pour some water into your left hand and rinse your mouth, don’t touch the ladle to your mouth
- Rinse your mouth and spit the water to the outside of the station
- Use the remaining water to rinse the ladle off
- You only scoop water into the ladle once, at the first step of the process
I absolutely loved Japan and highly recommend you go. I wish I was there right now!
If you’d like to see my other Japan posts, here’s the links:
Please also feel free to visit my Japan Pinterest board.
(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why the image in this post is labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)